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Homemade Beauty Recipes for Winter

A Beauty Wonderland
  -- By Liza Barnes, Health Educator
Winter is here, and for many people that means dry, flaky and cracked skin. Many skincare experts advise switching to more moisturizing hair and skincare products during the blustery months to avoid these problems. But before you invest in high-priced lotions and potions, head to your pantry, because there are many wintry foods—almonds, oatmeal and even chocolate—that can make your skin feel like it’s on a holiday in the tropics.

*Note: As with all skin products, do not use any of these recipes if you are allergic or sensitive to any of the ingredients, or have very sensitive skin. Consult your doctor if you have any concerns or questions. In case of a rash or reaction discontinue use immediately and seek medical advice.

Sweet Almond Body Scrub
Almonds are packed full of nutrients like vitamin E, magnesium, and healthy monounsaturated fats. These compounds make them nourishing to your body inside and out. Try this recipe to exfoliate and moisturize your skin. Mix all ingredients together in a shatter-proof bowl. In the shower or tub, massage the scrub into your skin in circular motions (after washing your skin with soap), concentrating on rough or dry areas of the skin. Rinse with warm water, allowing the residual layer of almond oil to remain on the skin. Pat dry.

Double Almond Body Scrub
Your skin will reap the moisturizing benefits of almond oil and the exfoliating properties of almond meal with this scrub. To make almond meal, toss a handful of raw almonds, with skins, into your blender. Blend for a few minutes until the almonds are the consistency of whole wheat flour. Mix all ingredients together in a shatter-proof bowl. In the shower or tub, massage the scrub into your skin in circular motions (after washing your skin with soap), concentrating on rough or dry areas of the skin. Rinse with warm water, allowing the residual layer of almond oil to remain on the skin. Pat dry.

Chocolate Face Mask
From Halloween to Valentine’s day, chocolate is the ever-present treat that tempts our taste buds. Once regarded as a bane to our health, new research has shown that dark chocolate is healthy—and not just to eat. Compounds found in chocolate can actually benefit the skin when applied topically. Place all ingredients into a blender, and blend until smooth. Apply to clean, dry skin and leave on for 15-20 minutes. Rinse with warm water. Pat dry.

Oats and Honey Facial
Besides giving you energy all morning long, oatmeal is a gentle exfoliant with soothing, anti-inflammatory properties. Here is a simple face scrub that can also be used as a mask: Blend oats and honey in a blender or food processor until smooth. Apply to clean, dry skin in small circular motions, covering the entire face, neck, and decolletage areas. Rinse with warm water, or, for a mask treatment, allow leave on for 10 minutes, then rinse.

Oatmeal Bath
Taking an oatmeal bath can benefit the whole body. Simply place a few cups of old-fashioned, uncooked rolled oats in the blender, and blend for at least two minutes, preferably longer, until the oatmeal is a very fine powder. When placed in the bathwater, the oat powder should disperse itself into the water, making it cloudy and silky. Soak in the tub as long as you’d like, rinsing only as much as necessary to remove any stickiness from your skin.

Store-Bought Beauty
If you don’t have the time or inclination to make your own winter beauty products, check out sumbody (www.sumbody.com), an online company that makes eco-friendly, handmade, pure beauty products from natural ingredients like the ones above. Their Cocoa Smooth Face Mask ($39.95 for 3 oz) contains chocolate, soy milk, oats and banana. Or, get your chocolate fix with their Hot Chocolate Natural Soap ($5.95 for 3 oz).

Skincare products that contain cranberries are gaining popularity because cranberries may reduce the risk of skin cancer and slow the breakdown of collagen. Because of their acidity, they are an effective exfoliant. You’d better leave this skin-care recipe to the professionals though, as cranberries can stain your skin. Here are some products to try that won’t leave you red-faced: sumbody's Cranberries and Cream Natural Soap ($4.10 for 3 oz) or River Organics Cranberry Cleanser ($32).